Came across this real whacky solution for Kashmir, which could actually work to create peace for "our" Kashmir at least.

Confront Pakistan about its lack of following of international norms and using captured Indian territory to destabilize India. Capture PoK.

We'll figure out plebiscite and all later, but at least the Indian side of Kashmir should see some improvements with infiltration now handled from its point of origin. No need to keep so many soldiers there šŸ˜€

Pakistan will not attack India, because its literally in the dumps right now, and China interfering will get the whole world involved. Since no one wants a world war or nuclear war, the situation will get resolved after much pressure, in the meanwhile, the Kashmir issue will be fixed.

Totally crazy idea, but heck, what about Kashmir is sane?

2

Intercepts of a conversation between Ghulam Ahmad Dar and Shabir Ahmed Wani talks of "10-15 people more should be martyred" and "You are getting money, but not doing enough". It is painful to hear of misguided, but brave kids fighting for what they believe is justice being talked about as purchased cannon fodder for being butchered.

The Kashmir scenario has me so troubled. Its just sad to see the entire valley in pain and yet it also makes me angry that the stubborn rioters care for nothing - not life, health, safety, education......

The simple fact of the matter is that the Kashmiris are frustrated and the separatists are providing them with a way of striking back. Unfortunately, they are also creating more and more reasons to strike back. I had thought it strange that reports spoke of tear gas not dispersing protestors and police resorting to firing. It didn't make sense. After all, tear gas would disable more people than a bullet, right? And, if the group was really determined, why stop when some of them were hit? It wasn't like large parts of the crowds were injured or killed. I felt certain that the intent was to not stop till there were a few casualties to protest over the next time.

Apparently, I was right.

The government has essentially turned a blind eye to their suffering for years, and their resulting anger is now being used to generate yet more pain for the purposes of someone else.

Intercepts of a conversation between Ghulam Ahmad Dar and Shabir Ahmed Wani talks of "10-15 people more should be martyred" and "You are getting money, but not doing enough". It is painful to hear of misguided, but brave kids fighting for what they believe is justice being talked about as purchased cannon fodder for being butchered.

Its time for the pelters to find some purpose and demand accountability from the government rather than indulge in violence and its time for the government to see that its important that human rights are respected.

The good part is that at least in a democracy, however else it is, they have a possibility of getting their needs met.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Yay!!! I just found out that Swami Agnivesh led a team of human rights activists to Kashmir and has stated in no uncertain terms:

We are concerned over the obtaining situation in the valley for the past nearly three months. We are lodging our protest against the oppressive measures against the innocent people.

My heart has been breaking for the Kashmiris for so many days as I waited for someone to get into being humane. The media reports the plight, but takes no stand. The government is busy pointing fingers. The PM is urging the use of non-lethal weapons. The cops are going right ahead with their brutal agenda. I didn't know how much I needed to hear this line. Someone telling the government to stop screwing around saving face and get on with fixing what we all know is wrong.

I have never felt more impotent. Everyone knows its utterly wrong, but all kinds of stupid ploys are being made. I can only imagine the anguish of being Kashmiri. So much for being India's paradise. The only thing I imagine might be worse is being a Kashmiri policeman because you need the job.

Swami Agnivesh's recommendation is an incredible service he has done to this country by telling the government directly. The biggest thing was that for once the Kashmiris had someone genuinely listening to them and willing to bat for them with the government. Omar Abdullah, are you reading this? You may want to consider donating your salary according to his recommendation. Not only did he do your job, he saved your skin.

It is crucial that the government notĀ trivializeĀ this by opposing them. For example, J&K being disputed is evident to everyone. Denying it for so many years in itself was stupid. Kashmir is horrifyingly militarized. Even if demilitarization is not entirely possible, surely we can do with far fewer soldiers there. Omar was happy to release the youth before Eid anyway. Political prisoners, I don't know about, but I guess unless they are criminal, illegal or dangerous to India, perhaps its time to accept that Kashmiris have their own objectives in politics, like all other politicians. Of course, if any are militant and have engaged in terrorism, its a different matter.

Revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act is something that will make fighting terrorists more difficult, but unfortunately, our police have demonstrated amply that they cannot be trusted with such autonomy. Killing or arrests of unarmed civilians shouldn't be done anyway unless they are breaking the law in some way. Punishing those responsible for killing people for protesting shouldn't even have been needed to be demanded. Its sad that it takes demanding. I have great hopes that this will actually lead such reforms for the entire country.

I would have begun with asking every responsible person in the government publicly apologizing to their 'claimed' citizens for their criminal negligence before I even began listening to what they wanted to say.

The Army has set up a helpline for assistance with human rights violations which indicates a possibility that they may be serious about changing:

Army has established human rights cells and launched a helpline at battalion and unit levels in Doda district district where people can call regarding human rights violations," a defence spokesman said today. A unit of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in Gundna belt of Doda has established a SAATHI helpline, where people can call regarding violations of human rights, RTI related issues, guidance regarding education and scholarship schemes, pensionary and old age related government schemes, medical benefits to people, career counselling for youth and guidance for recruitment in armed forces, para-military and police. At the battalion level, a "Khuda Ke Bande Human Rights cell" was setup at Armora camp in Doda, he said. The Army also organised a camp on human rights related issues at Gunda village, which received a tremendous response both from people and civil administration, the spokesman said, adding the army was committed to zero tolerance to any rights violations.

India is finally shining. Will the politicians catch up?

1

We have people up in arms in Kashmir. We have the army being blamed for their misery. We have politicians out of stock on meaningful ideas.

I think that if we need to move on from this limbo, we need to stop pointing fingers. I am not speaking of specific people, because silence is complicity. There was absolutely nothing stopping anyone, anywhere yelling "wait!!! why are these kids being killed?" God knows there is enough yelling in the government on relatively insignificant matters.

The army is an extension of National policy. They enforce. They don't make the rules. Pretending that it is the army that is responsible for this mess is a monumental admission of incompetence and will only work to keep providing scapegoats and remaining with the status quo. It is the government that messed up by not paying attention to the place it was governing. If an army is overstepping its bounds, it is the job of the local government to bring this up. This is really a basic job requirement to shout out "Hey, wait!!! Those are our citizens out there you are killing!" It is an embarrassment for the government, for the media, for the army and for the ordinary man of India, who simply assume that the Army has militancy under control, and if they are killing someone, it must be fine. This is horrifying.

If the government has not done this, a good place to start is "We screwed up. Please forgive us. Your loss is irreparable, and I will ensure that it is not repeated. You have been on ground zero. What is it you think we can change?" Don't think and analyze and justify the daylights out of things. You don't have to obey everything said, but sure, as the government, its your job to find out. Open your mouth, apologize for a ghastly lack of competence that the people you are facing have paid for with blood. Accept unconditionally and with humility that these are the people that have paid for your assumptions. Don't belittle their sacrifice. They have to stand on the streets and yell, because your hearing aid has not been maintained.

Seriously, wouldn't you be Anti-India, if people were being killed all around you no matter what you did, there was no hope for justice, no hope that anyone even considered your suffering a loss and there were no indications of an end in sight and you could be next? What does patriotism mean if it is to a country that thinks nothing of you, your existence, your problems and your safety? When is the last time the common man of India thought of Kashmir with empathy? What did you do to make them aware that here was a land that needed attention?

Any army is essentially a bunch of trained fighters with an essential role of safe guarding a nation's interest through might. They are not the ones deciding which interests get safeguarded and against whom. If you look at it from their perspective, they are supposed to curb militancy. Okay, they can do that. Who is a militant has kept evolving over the ages, yet not much has been done to redefine these distinctions. I think its utterly unfair to blame the army for what essentially is governmentĀ inertia. Sure, they are to blame. But really, the job of looking after the welfare of the people belongs squarely to the government. Do it, or get out.

Whenever you have armies loosed against the unarmed masses, there have been atrocities. The reason is simple. Masses don't like to be invaded by an army, they fight back. Civilians suffer because the army is obviously far better trained than them in fighting. The army suffers from something else - hostility. Anyone can be jumping up from any rock to kill them. They are humans too. They can't be expected to keep seeing people as allies when it means their life if they are not. In the process, their attitude naturally becomes one of destroying the people. It is human. It is defensive. It is survival, though it seems to be deliberate cruelty against unlikely targets for someone not in their situation. To someone who fully expects to have his life threatened any moment, the life of someone on the 'other side' just doesn't hold as much value, no matter how rosy you paint it. Whether it is an armed rebel, a child or an old person is secondary. All kinds of people can be suicide bombers. If not today, tomorrow. If that hate is in their hearts, it is only a matter of time before they act on it and find a way to kill them. It seems a threat. Whether that is right is another matter.

It is idealistic and unrealistic to expect utterly moralĀ behaviorĀ out of revved up warriors with no tangible target in a hostile land. It will spill over into them seeing targets to fight rather than the unnerving 'not knowing' repercussions of letting someone in their sights live. For that matter, militants are no different - why else do journalists, so-called informers and doctors get killed? If you put army kids into hot spots they'd get killed too. Would that mean the army was right? No, the army would still be an instrument.

It is important that this be recognized. The Kashmiris need to understand that war crimes are not the purpose of the army. Even as they devastate innocents, they are also providing an important boundary from the chaos currently happening in Pakistan that has a whole load of intent for this region. The government needs to understand that they can't hold the army responsible for what is essentially their job. They army may be stationed, they may have their instructions, but seeing that the objectives are met and evolving instructions as needed is the government's job. We are not a military dictatorship, and it is insulting for the government to refer to our army as though their actions are independent of government intent. If they truly think they can't handle the army, the correct move is not whining to the media and offering excuses to the Kashmiris, but resignations in favour of someone who can. It is utterly shameful that injured soldiers cannot expect any attention from the civil authorities other than piles of blame in the form of apologies on their behalf. They are as wronged as the Kashmiris. Occupying Kashmir is not their hobby.

The army needs to realize that there is very little conventional war left in the world. Warfare is sophisticated. There are facets and layers. It is now possible to kill every person in sight and still lose a war. It is not impossible that the very people they protect have been 'brainwashed' by the enemy. After all, don't most of us believe that the army only kills evil people? Why wouldn't the Kashmiris believe that the Army kills anyone who wants Kashmir to be free? Both are equally false. This isnt' a sterile, yes-no situation. It is crucial to remember that every contact with a person is a moment that you build an enemy or ally. The idea is that the enemies we engage are those we recognize as enemy. Unintended 'crimes' may happen, but they should be acknowledged as failures of the process and refined. Most importantly, intentional crimes MUST be punished. Rapes, assaulting kids and such stuff can't be 'mistaken' - it is intent. It is crime. It gets punished in regular civilian courts. The Army must not be above the law. This, more than anything else is the single biggest step every Indian must ask for, if we believe that Kashmir is a part of India.

I am planning to write three letters to the Kashmiris, to the government and to the Armed forces.

The people of Kashmir are in a vulnerable situation. They have few choices and even less dignity allowed to them. The priority for them is vastly different from the priority of the government or the army. They need their dignity restored before they will feel able to make responsible choices. Till then, it is a story of fight or fight, because flight is not an option. Anti-India is a creation of Indian policy. If two brothers inherit a house, and one of them decides what is better for the other and leaves no choice, they WILL end up in a fight over how theirĀ inheritanceĀ gets divided. It will only be worse if the question of legitimacy comes in as an argument against the other's desires. Kashmir has paid for decades for the crimes of Pakistan in sponsoring militancy. It is important to realize that they are the ones we are protecting. If they are brainwashed, as many claim, our objective is not in wiping them out, but in halting the psychological harm being projected. If a hardliner or whatever the term is, is an authentic Kashmiri, even if he has ties in Pakistan, surely he deserves a voice? Kashmir was whole once - everyone has ties in Pakistan. For that matter, India too. Its time to face that and stop pretending that desire to merge with India is patriotism and desire to merge with Pakistan is brainwashing and desire for independence is insanity. Desire is desire. It doesn't require logic.

I don't know why no one has spoken of this, but there needs to be a platform for the Kashmiris, the government and the army to find ways to protect the land without devastating the people right along with the offenders. The 'enemy' needs to be defined, and communication needs to be established between those not enemies. It may not be open arms and emotional declarations - wounds and suspicions heal slow. But we could begin with protocols that ensure mutual respect and see how we can build on that. Even if Kashmir were to be totally free tomorrow, it still would need a friendly India, so this isn't a betrayal of people's desires, but a sandbox for a future, so to say.

Let us not hurry to decisions, but first create an environment where excellent choices can be made - whatever they are. Like aĀ plebisciteĀ can't be done in Kashmir, because the conditions for it have been destroyed, absorbing Kashmir into India can't be done either, because the conditions for that have been destroyed too. An independent Kashmir is going to be a political and security nightmare in the vicinity of India, Pakistan and China. So, for now, we can accept that we don't have the possibility for good choices and work toward creating them.

For a long time, Kashmir has been a thrown in the sides of India, Pakistan and Kashmir. Countless men losing their lives, exhorbitant amounts of money spent, arguments, claims, hopes and anger. Its been pver 50 years. The issue is still on.

The world watches with bated breath as the two nuclear armed rivals try and figure life out and hope that the nuclear part of it remains in firmly in the capability rather than the use. It seemed hopeless for a long time. 3 wars, numerous hot moments and endless peace efforts later, no one really sees hope.

I remember being on a discussion forum, where the people of India and Pakistan were arguing desperately about how Kashmir belongs to them. Each side with strong versions of the "truth" and every option under the sky being pulled out for an airing.

I remember a comment I made that got me very strong hatred from my compatriots. I had said, "If it was within my power, and if it would bring peace, I would happily gift Kashmir to Pakistan." Regardless of the history, regardless of what is right, my heart bleeds for the people of the land who have forgotten what a normal llife is all about. Its ages since they have been able to trust strangers, seen a society without soldiers, or felt truly safe in their own land. But even if I could gift it, I couldn't bring happiness. There are people who want to be with India, there are those who would like to join Pakistan and then there are those who want independence. All of them can't be happy with my "gift".

It is true attrocities have been committed by both countries. By militants or by armed forces. It is true that Hindus and Muslims have both known a lot of fear and pain and death in this place. But that has already happened. We can choose to harp on about it, or to move on ensuring that it will not happen again.

For a long time I have even avoided thinking about Kashmir because of the helplessness I feel. I feel frustrated to see politicians sitting safely in Delhi and Islamabad and deciding the moves on the fates of those living the problem. Frustrated, because I haven't seen any result that will ease the situation of the Kashmiris.

Finally, I found a thread of hope. I came across this news article about Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan's visit to India and the progress made in the talks. For the first time, I found a no nonsense willingness to leave aside age old perceptions and assumptions and actually take things as they come from across the border. There is a trust that moves me with hope. I only hope that the Indian Government live up to this trust, and both countries build up on it to move toward a resolution on this festering sore.

I'm quoting the article here, Its worth a read:

ISLAMABAD: Faced with a volley of questions by an accusing Pakistan media over his reported statements during a visit to India, Kashmiri leader Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan stuck to his guns, saying the truth about cross-border militant training camps could not be hidden, nor could anyone find fault with his desire for peace in Kashmir, and that the United Nations resolutions were "obsolete."

Returning from New Delhi on Thursday, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir drove straight to meet the media in the capital, presumably to clear the air over his statements that have been slammed by Kashmiri Opposition parties here.

The ageing leader, also known as the First Mujahid, said it was "a fact that there were training camps [for militants] in Pakistan and in Azad Kashmir [Pakistan Occupied Kashmir]."

"Speak the truth"

"It was in the open. We cannot keep something like this under wraps. The Americans can give you all the details about these camps. These things cannot be kept hidden in this day and age. We should speak the truth, or we will be exposed as liars," Mr. Khan said.

But, the Kashmiri leader said, he had been misreported as saying these were "terrorist" training camps, while he had stressed the camps were for "freedom fighters."

He said he had also pointed out that President Pervez Musharraf had closed down the training camps and that there was no more infiltration into India. His purpose in India was to attend an intra-Kashmir "hear-to-heart" dialogue, where he asked for free movement of Kashmiris, intra-Kashmir trade and peace, Mr. Khan said.

"We have wasted 50 years in discussing a final solution, and got nothing in return but bloodshed and suffering for Kashmiris. There should be no more discussion on this. Rather we should focus on tackling the situation on the ground in Kashmir, where people are dying. If we focus on the process, improve the atmosphere, it will lead to the solution by itself," Mr. Khan said. "No one can disagree with my point-by-point demands for free movement, trade and peace."

Asked about Indian "inflexibility" to Gen. Musharraf's famous four-point proposals, Mr. Khan shot back, "They gave me a visa even though they considered me as enemy number one. Is this is not flexibility?"

Mr. Khan praised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and said he was on the right track towards finding a solution to the Kashmir issue. "My impression is that a good environment is being created for a solution to Kashmir, and to take the peace process forward, and the Indian Prime Minister is making all efforts. The round table conference discussed all the issues, and I think they are serious. They are working on demilitarisation, on opening of routes, so these are within the parameters suggested by President Musharraf," he said.

The APHC should have attended the New Delhi roundtable because no Kashmiri should refuse the opportunity to present his point of view, Mr. Khan said.

The U.N. resolutions on Kashmir were "obsolete." He pointed out they were only recommendations. "Do you want to keep harping about them until the last Kashmiri is killed?" he asked a reporter who questioned him on this.

When the reporters pressed him about India's "unyielding" stand, Mr. Khan urged Pakistanis to stop thinking of India "as a municipal committee" which had "not done this or that." Describing India as "10 times a bigger country," he said it would have to keep its "own commitments" in mind before taking any step and could not be pushed around.

He said there was no question of India "trapping" Pakistan in a peace process. "We fail ourselves on many occasions, and blame India for nothing."